What Does Thread Count Mean?

Woman sleeping on sheets with a high thread count.

Answering the Question: What Does Thread Count Mean?

If it’s been a while since you shopped for sheets or you’re getting ready to shop for linens for the first time, you may want to do some homework. And that homework should begin with finding the answer to this question, “What does thread count mean?”

Thread Count Explained

If you’ve heard the term “thread count” but don’t know what it means, you may think it’s just some sort of marketing term that’s used to try to lure you into buying sheets that are more expensive. While that’s understandable, it’s simply not the case.

Thread count is an industry term that refers to the number of threads that are woven into a single square inch. To determine thread count, you should count the threads that run lengthwise, which are known as “warp,” as well as the threads that run widthwise, which are referred to as “weft.” If a sheet has 200 lengthwise threads and another 200 widthwise threads per square inch, for example, its thread count is 400.

While the term thread count is often used in the context of sheets, it can apply to other things, such as shirts. In fact, the term can be used in discussions about any woven, fabric product.

Is a Higher Thread Count Better?

Many consumers cling to a long-standing belief that a higher thread count is better when they’re shopping for sheets. The thought behind this belief is that sheets that have a higher thread count are softer and higher quality.

The belief that sheets with higher thread counts are softer is, in fact, true. That is, it’s accurate up to a certain point.

If a sheet has a thread count of 150, it will feel like muslin, which is a bit rough. Sheets that are considered soft will have a thread count of at least 180. If you want higher quality, possibly softer sheet, you should look for one that has a thread count of at least 200.

It’s widely believed that a sheet that has a thread count of 200 is fine, but sheets that have a thread count of 400 are likely to be softer depending on the type of thread that’s used to make them. In general, sheets that have a thread count that’s higher than 400 don’t provide additional softness. Instead, they simply command a higher price thanks to the perception that they’ll be softer than sheets with lower thread counts.

The fact is, manufacturers can only fit so many threads into a single square inch. To attain a comparatively astronomical thread count of 800, 1,200 or more, some companies use math that can only be described as “creative” when they calculate their thread counts. In many cases, these manufacturers count each fiber in every thread rather than just the threads themselves. Sheets with artificially inflated thread counts are no more comfortable than sheets with lower thread counts.

Shop Where the Count Is Always Spot On, Shop with Ben’s

At Ben’s, we operate with complete transparency. That’s how we’re able to sell mattresses, accessories and high-quality furniture at such heavily discounted prices. We don’t just sell quality goods. We also offer financing through trusted lenders, making it even more affordable to shop with us.

Learn about the financing options that are available to you when you shop with Ben’s now!

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